Parking fines issued by private companies are being challenged today at the Supreme Court.
But the case could have consequences for penalty charges issued to individuals in different sectors beyond parking.
The case is being brought by individual motorist Barry Beavis who is appealing against an £85 penalty charge notice.
Which? is concerned about the potential wider impact on the law for penalty charges and unfair terms if he loses.
We are intervening to ensure consumers are protected against potentially excessive fines in all sectors.
Earlier this year the Court of Appeal dismissed the case in a ruling that stated the £85 charge was ‘not extravagant or unconscionable’ but gave leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Penalty charge laws a concern
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘The Supreme Court has given us permission to intervene again in this case to ensure the court is fully aware of the ramifications of this decision for all consumers.
‘We’re pleased this case is being taken to the highest level as we are concerned the Court of Appeal’s decision could water down the law on penalty charges and may encourage excessive default charges across a wide rage of consumer markets.’
In support of parking fines
The Independent Parking Committee (IPC) – the trade association that represents the private parking sector – said parking on someone else’s land is a privilege, not a right and that landowners also need protection.
Director of the IPC John Davies said earlier this year that parking charges are the ‘only protection that landowners have short of installing expensive barrier equipment.’
People who don’t accept parking terms set out clearly on signs have ‘the choice not to park’, he added.
How to appeal a parking ticket
Few people appeal a parking ticket but if you feel a ticket was issued unfairly, it’s worth appealing.
Previous Which? research found that two thirds of those in England and Wales who contested a parking ticket (excluding London) won their case.
There are different types of parking tickets issued depending on whether you are parked on private or council-owned property.